Growing Corn/Hot Pepper Spray : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I tried growing sweet corn several years ago, and for three years in a row, I didn't get a single ear of corn due to striped cucumber beetles. Hoards of them eat the silks as they grow from the husks so that the corn cannot be pollinated.

I've looked in several books, but haven't ever seen a reference to this problem. Has anyone else experienced this and/or found a solution to the problem? I'd love to add corn to my order for next year!

Also, I just dried and ground up a bunch of habanero peppers thinking I could use them on the garden next year to deter cabbage worms, etc. Does anyone have advice (pro or con) for using a hot pepper spray?

P.S. I'm in south-central Wisconsin.


-- Sharon/WI (, October 11, 2001


Sharon: Try putting a few of the offenders in the blender with the peppers. They don't like their own kind.

-- Ann Markson (, October 11, 2001.

That's a new one for me! My problem has been with corn borers on corn and the striped cucumber beetles on very young vine-crops. I am not a true "organic" gardener, but I use very little in the way of chemicals. My chemical of choice is Sevin, which has been around nearly as long as I have. I use it for the 2 above problems, and nothing else. On the young vine crops, it is deadly against the cuke beetles, and at that stage there are no beneficial insects that might imbibe this deadly cocktail. Once the vines have reached a viable size, I don't worry, since they can fend off the attacks of the beetle. I also spray the corn silks when they emerge, since corn is wind pollinated, and no beneficial insects are harmed. Organic is my desire, but I realize that to be fanatic in that endeavor is not productive. I apologize to you hard-line organic farmers and gardeners, but that is my philosophy. GL to all!

-- Brad (, October 11, 2001.

I have use the hot pepper spray for a few years now and it works with lots of different pest. You just have to remember to reapply after a rain. I make it by putting the hot peppers or pepper sauce and a few drops of lemon dish soap in a spray bottle and fill it up with water. Shake it up and spray. Works great for me.:-D

-- Kim in Indiana (, October 11, 2001.

Hi, Sharon, Looked up cucumber beetles in Rodale's Color Handbook of Garden Insects and it does say that corn is a host plant. They suggest cheesecloth as a control but that's not too practical for corn. Another organic book mentioned using a handfull of wood ashes and an equal amount of hydrated lime mixed in 2 gallons of water to make a spray. Also, neem oil is an excellent spray for many pests and I recently heard that Lowe's is now carrying neem oil. Or it can be obtained from mail order garden suppliers such as Gardens Alive. We use it for numerous lawn pests in our business. I was looking forward to having our first crop of corn last year as we finally have enough room to grow it, but with the drought last year, our well like many others went dry. We had to borrow water from a neighbor because of the long wait to get someone out to work on the well, and I didn't want to be using their water to water our garden, so unfortunately, the corn didn't do well. This spring we had too many other things going on so didn't do as big a garden and didn't plant corn at all; but I am hoping maybe to try again next year. I've been told you don't know what real fresh corn is until you grow it yourself, have the pot of water boiling, and rush from the garden with the corn. So, I'm hoping to get a taste of some real fresh corn next year and hope yours fares better, too. Best of Luck.

-- Sherry S, N.Fl (, October 12, 2001.

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